I am an employee for the US 2020 Census. You may see me or one of my 800 coworkers knocking on your door soon. AMA!
I’m a field worker for the US Census, basically the lowest position in the bureau. I’m one of the guys who’s knocking on doors and getting information either in preparation of or for the 2020 Census in the United States. We’ve been trained to answer any questions that citizens we encounter may ask in regards to why we’re knocking on your door, what information we’re collecting, and why we’re bothering you before it’s even 2020. I want to help people have a better understanding of who we are and what we need from you, so feel free to ask me anything!
Edit: Turns out there’s actually thousands of field workers, 800 is just a number I pulled off this website page which apparently was published in March.
Edit: A few key points discussed in the first few days and answers to the most asked questions:
— Between now and October 4th, a census worker is likely to come to your house and they will literally only to ask for your address and see if any apartments or units were added to your property. After that, the best way to avoid us in the future is to fill out the questionnaire (which will be done entirely digitally this time by means that vary by county) as soon as possible.
— As of right now, I do not have the questions that will be asked next year. Some people have found sample questions or speculated questions on the Census website and other government sites. As a census data collector, I am sworn to keep any information I get confidential and only give it to my supervisor. We do not have the authority to call ICE or anyone besides pass the info along to the bureau.
— Census data is only released to the public in the form of statistics. These stats are used for a number of important decisions. The biggest is determining number of senate seats, massive budgeting decisions, demographic accommodation, etc. The reason questions regarding personal info such race or legal status are in place is so your local government knows how to serve you. (A lot of great discussion is down below regarding this.)
— If no one answers the door or we are physically threatened or otherwise sense we are in danger, we skip the house and report it to our supervisor. What happens after that I don’t know.
— The first thing census workers do when we speak to anyone is say who we are, display our government issued badge, and hand you a notice listing your confidentiality rights before we ask any questions. If you see one of us, we’ll also be wearing a shoulder bag with the Census logo right on the front and probably carrying a laptop.
— If you refuse to answer the census questions, you may be fined up to $100. Lying on a census can be up to $500. Many people have asked if they can just pay the fine so we don’t bother them, and the answer is I don’t know. Obviously I prefer you answer us so we can get as accurate of data as possible, but I dont know about prepaying fines.
— The first part of our training as workers was a history of the census, including negative uses such as the 3/5 rule prior to the Civil War. The reason for this training was so we know how the census was misused in the past and how it has progressed to be much more inclusive and equal.
— I have nothing to do with political leadership, presidential elections, or immigration policies. I’m literally a dude trying to find out your address.
— I personally have over 2 years of experience knocking doors for Domino’s, DoorDash, and as a missionary. I have a lot of experience doing this sort of things and am no longer afraid of the crazies.